An 8-year-old biracial boy was taunted with racial slurs and then hung from his neck by a tire swing rope.
The incident occurred in Claremont, New Hampshire, on Aug. 28, The Associated Press reported. A group of teenagers tied the swing rope around the boy's neck and pushed him off a picnic table.
The boy was treated at a local hospital for cuts on his neck following attack, the victim's grandmother, Lorrie Slattery, told Valley News. He has since been released and has returned to school.
Slattery said the children were in the backyard when the teenagers got on the table and grabbed a rope that was being used to hold a tire swing. It is not clear at this time how that rope ended up on the boy's neck, but the grandmother said the teens pushed the boy off the table.
No adults witnessed the incident. An abuse expert who spoke to the victim said the child swung back and forth from his neck three times before being able to untangle himself from the rope. None of the teens helped him.
"One boy said ... 'Let's do this,' and then pushed him off the picnic table and hung him," Slattery told Valley News.
Police have refused to release any further details about the case, citing confidentiality that protects juvenile investigations. Activists involved with racial justice were outraged by this, saying law enforcement officials could be suppressing an important community conversation about racism.
“Folks don’t just deserve to be informed about what’s going on; it is imperative that we disseminate this information,” said Mark Hughes, who is the co-founder and executive director for Vermont-based group Justice for All. “Because to not do this feeds into the problem.”
Hughes also pointed out that it took more than a week for the 8-year-old boy's story to become public, and even then it was only because of a Facebook post by the victim's mother that went viral on the social media platform.
“So my son is being flown to Dartmouth after a 14 year old kid decided to hang him from a tree,” Cassandra Merlin wrote in a Facebook post that has since been deleted, NH1 reported. “I don’t care if this was a so called accident or not. My son almost died because of little s**t teenage kids.”
“My nephew was hung from a tree by a 14yr old who claims ‘it was an accident,'” added the child’s uncle, Lyrik Merlin. “I don’t care what kind of excuse this teenager has but you DO NOT play with somebody’s life.”